Sunday, 23 October 2011

Time Flies . . .

It's been three weeks since I posted anything - time truly does seem to disappear in the blink of an eye. I do have the excuse of being out of the country for one of those weeks, so maybe it's not as bad as I think.

International travel sounds so exotic, doesn't it? Exotic definitely didn't define our vacation, but fun, crazy and awesome did. :)

We surprised the kids with a trip to Disneyland - we didn't get the reaction we were hoping for (it wouldn't make a Disney commercial, that's for sure), but once the kids got over the shock, they were very excited.

Everyone had a great time - the weather was mostly good and we only lost one day to a massive rain storm (the first storm of the year, with weather warnings and 2 inches of rain in less than 6 hours). We also did one day at Universal Studios, which was where I got the only picture of me:

And, we didn't get any pictures of Mr. E and I together - nope, not one. Oh well - I know we were both there :)

It was a great week - the kids had a great time - they went on nearly all the roller coasters and most of the other rides. Having all four above the minimum height for all the rides helped a lot (that's 48.5 inches, by the way). The line-ups weren't very bad during the week, so it made for a good vacation. The line-ups on Saturday - those weren't any fun at all. If that's what peak season is like, I couldn't go - it was too busy for me.

So there you have it - what we did for the first week in October, while the kids should have been at school ;) it's fun being the rebel parent once in a while!


Monday, 3 October 2011

The Coolest Kitchen Stools Ever!

Every now and again, I come across a project that makes me want to stop everything I'm doing and focus on nothing else until it's finished.

That happened to me this weekend. 

I was reading a blog I like, The Shabby Chic Cottage, and this was posted: updating kitchen stools. How amazing! We have four kitchen stools at our island and they definitely could use an update. 

This seemed like a sign that I was meant to do something with our kitchen stools - right now. And, since Gina said it was a quick and easy project, I decided to go for it.

Famous last words. 

Anyway, here are the stools sitting in the garage. They're a cherry colour that doesn't go with anything in our house, and they have lots of scratches and wear.

I didn't want to sand them and make a huge mess so I decided to prime them instead. So, with the help of my oldest son, we began spray painting:

After we put one coat of the primer on, I started spraying them black (my helper had long since left me by this point). And this is where the trouble started.

I ran out of black spray paint. I had thought one and a half cans would be more than enough, but apparently not. So, off to the store I went - and found out that the same brand of spray paint was out of stock. I wanted a satin finish but all they had was matte and gloss. To the next store I went, only to find that they didn't carry the same brand of spray paint. Grrrr. I bought three cans of black semi-gloss and came home to finish my 'quick and easy project.'

Apparently, different spray paints aren't necessarily compatible - the paint bubbled in some spots. Sigh. So after it dried, I sanded the paint and added another coat or two where it was needed. 

And, it was incredibly windy that day - working in the garage didn't make my day any easier. Huge seeds came from nowhere and landed in my wet paint. It looked like snow in the garage - that's how many seeds came under the half open door. Sigh. Again.

Once I got the bases painted, I started on the tops. After starting with a small foam brush, I realized the tops would need many, many coats to look good and be covered properly. So, I cheated and cracked open another can of spray paint - this one in a nice creamy white. 

I wrapped my drop cloth around the newly painted bases and in two coats, the seats were a wonderful creamy white - just what I was looking for.

The stools that Gina did had a graphic on the seat, which looks great, but it didn't have any personal meaning to me. We have four stools and four kids, so I decided to put their initials on each stool. I printed their initials as large as I could, and made them into home-made stencils by rubbing pencil on the back and tracing them:

It worked really well and I had an outline to follow.

Next, I used two Sharpie paint pens I picked up, traced the outline and coloured the letters in. The paint pens didn't work as well as I'd hoped, so I had to go over the letters again - and clean the black paint off my fingers and touch up the white paint where the paint pens had dripped. Sigh.

I worked my way through them - by this time, I'd moved them into the kitchen so I could hang out with the family. It was early evening by this point, so it was hard to see in the garage.

Finally, the stools were finished!

I added a couple of coats of poly-urethane to seal the tops - they'll be used a lot so I want them to last a while. 

They look great, if I do say so myself :)